Friday, May 28, 2004

emr in the dod

went to a seminar this morning on the dept. of defense's new electronic medical records system, chcs II (composite health care system II) (also see this article on the system). the stated goals of the system (which is used at every us military medical hospital in the world and even in the theater of opperations) are to:
  1. provide longitudinal access to patient records
  2. ease of use
  3. enhance epidemiological knowledge and response


the first two are givens, but i thought it was great that they are explicitly looking to enhance their public health stance within the military population -- the speaker specifically mentioned gulf war syndrome.

the system's ui is a fat client which i think is a good thing (although i wish it was a rich-thin-client). it's built to look a lot like outlook, and the practicioner enters data by chaining together concepts from a tree widget. so the practicioner does not type free text into the system, but constructs medical observations through a predefined and heirarchically organized vocabulary (if you're wondering it's not umls, it's not snowmed ct, the vocabular was internally developed but can be mapped to all the other vocabs if necessary).

not only does this prevent the vocabulary normalization nightmare inherent to medical records (e.g., 10 different descriptions for sinusitis), but it also automatically saturates the medical record with additional information such as meta-data and billing/order codes. the downside is that you have to drill down trees all day, which can probably be frustrating, although the speaker did not mention any usability data.

one interesting point made was that the system captures events instead of facts. that is, instead of storing something like, 'blood pressure is 120/80', the system stores 'nurse jenkins observed mr. smith's blood pressure to be 120/80 on friday, june 4th using a digital pressure cuff'. i guess this has no immediate benefit, but it should provide a much richer substrate for data-mining.

another interesting architectural decision involved the database schema: they are basically using two different databases, one for regular information transactions, and one for report querries, both of which seemed strangely simplistic. the 'report' database -- which is populated from the 'regular' database -- has a schema that you would probably consider normal, that is, the rows are patients, and the columns are clinical observations such as pulse, bp, etc:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

| patient | blood pressure | pulse | bun | creatinine | ... | potassium |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 23423 | 120/80 | 70 | 20 | 10 | ... | 5 |
| 44133 | 160/110 | 80 | 30 | 15 | ... | 5 |
| 729113 | 110/70 | 60 | 15 | 7.5 | ... | 5 |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------


the 'regular' database actually has kind of a weird schema, that looks something like this:

---------------------------------------------------

| patient | test type | result |
---------------------------------------------------
| 23423 | blood pressure | 120/80 |
| 23423 | pulse | 70 |
| 44133 | bun | 30 |
| 729113 | age | 27 |
---------------------------------------------------


as you can see, it looks really ineffecient, but the reason why they made it this way is that new types of tests are always being added to the clinical repertoire. for example, they had to start recording pain as a clinical observation, so if they had a typical schema like the one in the 'report' db, then they would have had to add a column, which is bad database hygiene.

with this seemingly oversimplistic schema, a new clinical observation is just another row, so you don't have to drop tables and all that nonsense. since the 'report' db is constructed with data from the 'regular' db, it's not a big deal to rebuild it with a new column.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

bloglines and photoblogging

if you are viewing this blog through a web-based aggregator like bloglines, you won't be able to see photoblogged images since those images need a local referrer to load. the service seems shittier by the minute. i'll send them a bug report or something tomorrow.

framing political thought

patrick logan points to this two part discussion with berkeley linguist george lakoff on the use of language to frame political issues.

Right now the Democratic Party is into marketing. They pick a number of issues like prescription drugs and Social Security and ask which ones sell best across the spectrum, and they run on those issues. They have no moral perspective, no general values, no identity. People vote their identity, they don't just vote on the issues, and Democrats don't understand that. Look at Schwarzenegger, who says nothing about the issues. The Democrats ask, How could anyone vote for this guy? They did because he put forth an identity. Voters knew who he is.

[...]

Also, within traditional liberalism you have a history of rational thought that was born out of the Enlightenment: all meanings should be literal, and everything should follow logically. So if you just tell people the facts, that should be enough — the truth shall set you free. All people are fully rational, so if you tell them the truth, they should reach the right conclusions. That, of course, has been a disaster.

while i agree that republicans have utilized and subsequently benefitted from framing much more than progressives, i am not sure that i want the left to follow suit. my association with the left stems partially from their proclivity to treat the electorate as rational adults -- i am not entirely against some of the goals of the conservative movement, but i find their recontextualizations and over-simplifications extremely off-putting.

if progressives do end up mimicing their conservative bretheren, i worry that politics will sink even further into the quagmire. the o'franken factor is a perfect example of this. i understand the intent, and i sympathize, but i just can't deal with it. (btw, is it just me, or does janeane garofalo look totally hot with the blonde hair?)

on a related note, design observer talks about the use of marketing in the recent indian elections. i thought the discussion and comments were quite interesting.

and finally, here are some other articles by george lakoff on language and politics/war.

why isn't this on the nyt's front page?



fuck, did you know that grep has a --color option? don't lie, none of your asses did either.

this is probably the biggest news that i've heard in the past decade. i'm on the verge of adding "alias grep='grep --color'" to my .bashrc, which, to a nerd, is basically on the same level as getting hitched.

there are some other good unix-y tips in the post, but i doubt i will ever be able to break the "pipe grep to wc" habit.

Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

online learning

yale, stanford, and oxford form like voltron to offer online continuing education at the alliance for lifelong learning (alllearn.org). the courses aren't for credit or anything, but most of the classes seem pretty interesting...

i wish i could think of a title/caption, but i can't


 Posted by Hello

more pics of the indian delegate to the universe

from the pen of some indian:

Jamshedpur girl Tanushree Dutta, 21, was crowned Ponds Femina Miss India Universe 2004 at a glittering ceremony in Mumbai on Saturday night.
[...]
Dutta's reply to actor Sanjay Dutt's question in the final round, whether there was a healthy competition when only one wins, won her the crown.

The audience broke into applause when she replied, "When there is unhealthy competition everybody is a loser."

wow, that's all it takes to win the crown? i think it has more to do with her eminently chewable ass:









after securing the title of miss india, ms. dutta jetted off to scenic quito equador (incidentally, the world's second highest altitude capital after la paz, bolivia) to compete in the miss universe competition. from there, she will visit new york to date tom cruise and be used as a sacrifice to l. ron hubbard.

just think: only a few years ago, girls rocking bikinis in india would find their asses being thrown down well shafts by the in-laws (legally). this, my friends, is the very sight of progress.

so gentlemen, i beseech you, stroke away. and stroke with a clear conscience.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

you guys don't really need a caption for this, but...



...miss india....wearing fuck me boot BOOTS. fuck me BOOTS.

TA RA RA RA RAH RAY RAH RAY RAAHHHHH!!!! HUY HUY HUY HUY HUY HUY!!!!!

Posted by Hello

Monday, May 24, 2004

is the party just starting or just getting over?



i gotta admit, blogger's photoblogging system is kinda cool. it makes me wish i had more than just fake nudes of mandy moore to share with you guys.

it all works through "hello", a new chat client which kinda sucks and is kinda cool at the same time.

the sucky part is of course that the last thing the world needs is another chat client/network. also adding to the suckage is that the hello client is windows only.

what's cool is that you just drag a photo into the chat client, write the caption right there, and then send it off -- and blogger hosts the images for me. all the resizing, html tags, etc. is taken care of by the hello client. before, i had to jump trough a few more hoops to put images up, so i definitely appreciate what they have going on over here.

interestingly, hello is an idealab! company. if you don't remember, idealab! was the much heralded, and then much maligned, .com incubator that got a lot of press during the boom. it's good to see that they are still around and kicking and putting out good products.

oh, another crappy thing? you can't add post titles directly in the client: you have to go in through blogger and edit them yourself.

Posted by Hello

incase you've never seen the pic...


did you know you can photoblog on blogger now? neither did i. Posted by Hello

cigarette packaging

back when i was a smoker, every time i saw an anti-smoking advertisement, i would light one up out of a sense of solidarity. i think that the anti-smoking packaging scheme currently employed by canada and some european nations would have stopped my nascent unionist tendancies cold.

cigarette packages in canada are required to place anti-smoking literature over 50% of the package. the iconography often shows diseased tissues and is quite graphic, as you can see in the link above. inside the packages are tips on how to quit smoking.

the campaign seems to be successful:
  • 44% of smokers say the warnings increased their motivation to quit
  • 58% said the warnings made them think more about the health effects of smoking
  • 62% say the new warnings make the packages look less attractive


from a cnn.com article:
  • 43% of smokers and 40 percent of nonsmokers said they are more concerned about the health effects of smoking because of the new warnings
  • 21% of smokers said they have been tempted on one or more occasions to have a cigarette but decided not to because of the new warnings
  • 27% of smokers said they smoke less inside their home because of the new warnings
  • 35% of smokers and 34 percent of nonsmokers said they know more about the health effects of smoking than they did before the new warnings
  • 48% of nonsmokers said the new warnings made them feel better about being a nonsmoker
  • 17% of smokers said they have put their cigarette pack away at least once because they did not want others to see the warning
  • 24% of smokers said they have at least once put a cardboard sleeve over their pack or transferred cigarettes to another container
  • 18% of smokers said they have on at least one occasion asked for a different package of cigarettes when purchasing them because they did not like the warning on the package first offered
  • In addition, smokers and nonsmokers identified the warning depicting a diseased mouth and the picture of a lung tumor as most effective at discouraging smoking.


however, as you can see from the fact that people transfer the cigarettes to different containers, there is a niche industry that has grown to serve the needs of smokers who do not want to be reminded of the consequences of their actions. apparently, one french company makes a cardboard sleeve to place over your pack that is emblazoned with the image of che guevara, which i am dying to see a picture of, but i couldn't find it...the closest i got was this picture of che guevara rolling papers:



others have started distributing stickers over the internet that you can print out at home and stick over the images. some good ones are here:

fight terror with terror

this onion article on fighting terror with terror is classic.

"It's vital to remember that these terrorists hate freedom," Rumsfeld said. "Well, guess what? From now on, we're going to hate it even more."
[...]
Elliott Abrams, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director For Near East and North African Affairs, said that the Bush Administration acknowledged the ethical inconsistencies of its opposing-terrorism-through-terrorism stance, but doesn't really care.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

best t-shirt ever

if any of you have access to a woman, buy her this t-shirt.

terry gilliam and salman rushdie

the believer has the transcript of a conversation between terry gilliam and salman rushdie that i found interesting.

at one point, gilliam's 'brazil' (imdb page) was my absolute favorite movie, but now, the reality of the american police state blunts the movie's expressivity and imagination -- what was once predicted and cautioned against (and laughed at) is now occurring with public permission and approval. in any case, it's still a great movie, as is 'twelve monkeys'.

TG: Well, I really want to encourage a kind of fantasy, a kind of magic. I love the term magic realism, whoever invented it—I do actually like it because it says certain things. It's about expanding how you see the world. I think we live in an age where we're just hammered, hammered to think this is what the world is. Television's saying, everything's saying "That's the world." And it's not the world. The world is a million possible things.

SR: And the world is about the way in which our dreams intersect with our real life. Endlessly, the world of the imagination changes the world.

TG: But the dreams that are being offered are just whiter teeth, or thicker toilet paper. Things like that. [Mimics TV voice] Dream of three-ply toilet paper. After a real bout of diarrhea... But these are the dreams that are being offered up to us. It's appalling. I just feel it's compressing and compressing. And then when you see sci-fi films they're not really doing it. They're not taking you to a place where you can really stretch your world. And I think that's one of the big problems with Hollywood dominating the world as far as cinema—it's slowly squishing it down everywhere. Except living outside the States, it's easier to rebel against.

also, watch as rushdie makes us all wish we had a fathwah placed on our head:




UPDATE: i forgot to put some things in the post, so here they are. via quadrantcrossing:
here's a highly political interview with gilliam in the onion's a/v page that you should definitely check out.

Fear And Loathing, in a strange way, was like that. It was interesting: When we made it, I felt the prime audience would have been college students, who were ripe and ready to consider new ideas—or old ideas, at least—of anarchy, or whatever. But the college kids, it didn't seem to work for them as I'd hoped. And I discovered that what seemed to be the prime audience... The ones who were really receptive were high-school students, who hadn't yet committed to their careers. College used to be about expanding your mind, and ideas, and now it seems to be just stage one of your career, and if you don't do well in college, you might as well just commit suicide, like Japanese students used to do in the old days. But the high-school kids were still open-minded and willing to consider things. A lot of college kids, the film seemed to worry them, I think because it was too anarchic for them. It's just a theory, though. I have no proof of any of this.


Saturday, May 22, 2004

indian sexual relations

some bollywood actress that i've never heard of named preity zinta has written an editorial on the bbc about indian men acting like barbarians. personally, i believe that it's my birthright as an indian male [which i am not] to grab girl's asses in the malls of delhi or caress their bossoms as they sleep on the train to lucknow. plus, i should be allowed to grow a mustache, wear aviator sunglasses, and have a hairy chest.

On view are videos where the camera zooms in and out of the girl's anatomy, accompanied by vulgar and crude remix music which single-mindedly murders classic Indian film songs.

There is one video in which a man on a train has a drink and sees a properly dressed girl morphing into a little sex kitten in a bikini top and a slit skirt. Then they begin a dirty dance inside the compartment.

[....]

It's all about men imitating all the dangerously sexist images of women that our media spits out day and night. I daresay that some of today's cinema is also to blame.

Unlike the Hindi film heroine of yesteryear, who was largely the epitome of purity and had a certain dignity, there is today an emerging "genre" of B-grade skin flicks that showcase "sexy" heroines in slinky costumes.

In one such film, the hero grabs his heroine on a smoky strobe-lit dance floor and orders her to stare at him till she goes weak in the knees and begins breathing heavily. All this in their first interaction!

too bad she doesn't mention the titles of the videos and 'b-grade skin flicks'...i think i would watch them religiously.

i think that her editorial addresses little more than the stupidity of indian men, and while she is correct in viewing such behavior with contempt, i wish ms. zinta would have addressed the growing problem of real violence against south asian women that exists somewhat orthogonally to pinched asses. please visit sakhi's website for more information about what you can do to help (either through donations, attending fund raisers, or by spreading the word).

Friday, May 21, 2004

copenhagen consensus

via green hat journal:

check out the copenhagen consensus, which strives to direct the world's social efforts. from their website:

Copenhagen Consensus is based on the aim to improve prioritization of limited means. The world is faced with a countless number of challenges such as diseases, environmental degradation, armed conflicts and financial instability. Copenhagen Consensus takes a new and critical-analytical approach to assessing the effects of international opportunities for solving the challenges.


the 10 challenges that they will focus on are:
  1. Climate Change
  2. Communicable Diseases
  3. Conflicts
  4. Education
  5. Financial Instability
  6. Governance and Corruption
  7. Malnutrition and Hunger
  8. Population: Migration
  9. Sanitation and Water
  10. Subsidies and Trade Barriers


their meeting will be taking place soon (24th-28th), so hopefully, some interesting ideas will be presented...

plus, it'll let jagdish bhagwati show what he's got at the danish discotheques:



UPDATE: like an idiot, i forgot to put a link for the copenhagen consensus when i first posted this entry. that has since been rectified.

i could totally see dj i have no friends doing this

robot protest.

i think their signs are hilarious.

vincent gallo on travel

i'm still waiting for pbakid to start posting so that we can get shit like this on a daily basis.
Who the fuck would fly on a plane in coach? It's so creepy. A vacation should be sitting in bed eating chips and dips, watching TV, and being massaged and blown by a robot - that's a vacation. That's travelling.
[...]
My beautiful home is in New York City. I used to love coming home to New York City from some horrible travelling. It's sad though, when I go back to New York now, it's not the same. How could it be exciting to go back home to a city where a born rich kid like that mini-dwarf, faggot, date-raper Harmony Korine lives.


oh god

torless will be the only person i know that will laugh at this, but i'll post it anyway:

is hell exothermic or endothermic?

it's difficult for me to even write about this.

remember when the pirates were good? remember those days??? when we had post-seasons?

the pirates used to be like wu-tang before they all started dropping solo-records. barry bonds was the rza, bobby bo was the gza, andy van slyke was meth......michael eugene "spanky" lavalliere was the odb.

well, the girl hacker had to go and remind me about all that crap (and by crap i mean sid bream) by talking about knuckleballers and pointing to this new yorker article on the art-form.

...remember tim wakefield winning games 3 AND 6? as a rookie? god, those were great days.

the new yorker article talks about how wakefield became a pitcher when a coach saw him goofing around on the sideline throwing knucklers. hilarious.

now i'm going to go cry.

is google trying to fuck with me?

in light of the previous post regarding the google advertising at the top of the page, i've been recording the ads presented over the past day or so and here's what google considers to be related topics to the blog:
  • antisocial personality disorder
  • narcisistic personality disorder
  • obsessive compulsive personality disorder
  • multiple personality disorder

of course, posting this will skew google's adsense even further, but what the fuck?

campaign finance

just finished watching this lecture on mitworld about campaign finance entitled 'political advertising, free speech and the problem of campaign reform'. the speech was given by stephen ansolabehere, a professor of political science at mit and author of a book on negative campaign ads, 'going negative'.

the lecture starts out by going over both the history of money as speech (i.e., buckley v. valeo) and the amounts/sources of money going into campaigns. for example, $3 billion was spent in the last round of federal elections: congressional candidates spent $1 billion of that money, parties spent another $1.1 billion for god knows what (likely hookers), and the remaining $0.74 billion was spent in the presidential election. ansolabehere goes on to say that it basically costs $40 to get someone to vote.

the possible issues related to the explosive growth in campaign spending in the past 30-40 years are then presented. his research shows that campaign donations lead to virtually no corruption; that is, spending money on candidates does not lead to quid pro quo private benefits.

however, his research has shown that the current structure of campaign finance results in financially weighted voting -- that is, since it costs $40 to get someone to vote, a donation of $2000 will increase your individual vote by a factor of 50. so if you are aligned with a particular candidate's ideology, then you can influence the outcome of the election through spending.

the data he presents shows that campaign contributions come from a constant fraction of 8% of the population, and -- not surprisingly -- of that 8%, 91% are from the top quintile of wage earners. that is, the richest 20% of the population have 12 times the voting power as the remaining 80% of the populace.

another interesting factiod that he threw out there is that spending -- when adjusted for gdp -- has remained relatively flat since the 1940's. england, sweden, and italy have all show this same phenomenon of election spending existing as a constant fraction of the society's income.

personally, i find his results to be slightly less dramatic than what i would have expected, especially with regards to the non-existance of corruption. perhaps i am just so anti-lobby that i want to believe that campaign contributions corrupt governemnt much more than they actually do. however, i think that other research, such as that done by the center for responsive politics, shows much stronger connections between donations and access to the political process.

in this 'washington journal' episode, larry makinson (senior fellow at the center for responsive politics) discusses not only how money buys politicians seats, but also how those politicians are then indebted to the donors who put them in office.

for example, his research shows that 94% of the time, the candidate who spends the most money wins the race, and in 2/3 of the congressional districts, 1 candidate spent spends 10 times more money than the other candidate. (incidentally, he says that $900,000 is the going price for a seat in the house of representatives). in a different speech i heard him give on c-span radio (i couldn't find it archived), he goes on to show how that money required to win a seat ends up corrupting the politician's voting pattern. so, perhaps it isn't possible to approach a sitting politician and offer money for a vote, but it is possible to plant a kernel of corruption during election time through the application of funding stress.

c-span has another clip of the executive director & general council for the center for responsive politics appearing before the federal election commission and proposing limiting the spending of 527 groups, although i haven't gotten a chance to watch it yet, so if any of you guys watch it before i update this post, let me know what you think in the comments.

(also, check out the national voting rights institute for more news about campaign finance and reform)

Thursday, May 20, 2004

slightly disturbing news

perhaps you've noticed the advertisements at the top of the page? well, the way it works is that google 'reads' the blog and then constructs an advertisement that would be most relavent to the viewers of the blog.

have a look at the ad that i saw this afternoon on fratocrates:



yes, that is right, not only does google think that this blog is a raging alcoholic, but it also thinks that we suffer from BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER:

Linehan theorizes that borderlines are born with an innate biological tendency to react more intensely to lower levels of stress than others and to take longer to recover. They peak "higher" emotionally on less provocation and take longer coming down. In addition, they were raised in environments in which their beliefs about themselves and their environment were continually devalued and invalidated. These factors combine to create adults who are uncertain of the truth of their own feelings and who are confronted by three basic dialectics they have failed to master (and thus rush frantically from pole to pole of):

  • vulnerability vs invalidation
  • active passivity (tendency to be passive when confronted with a problem and actively seek a rescuer) vs apparent competence (appearing to be capable when in reality internally things are falling apart)
  • unremitting crises vs inhibited grief.


well, there you have it: we're fucking idiots.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

contemporary architecture

memepool linked to some sites discussing modern prefabricated housing (as in international modernism). while prefab has somewhat of a derogatory connotation, especially when applied to big ticket items such as housing or aesthetic concerns such as architecture, the mass production technique falls in line with the goals of the modernist movement. in addition, making the modernist aestetic more accessible could help reverse the mcmansion-ization of america. as this newsweek article says:

Design is everywhere, right? Your toothbrush, your running shoes, your cool-looking couch, your latte machine, your laptop. OK, no one would mistake Indiana for Italy, but you can finally buy good design almost anywhere, from the mall to the Internet. But there’s one big-ticket item in this country that is virtually untouched by the hand of a good designer: your house.
[...]
It makes me wonder whatever happened to the modern house, and why the core idea of modernism—that through mass production, ordinary people could afford the best design—never caught on when it came to houses. Le Corbusier called the house “a machine for living in”—which meant, notes New York architect Deborah Gans, that the house is a tool people control, not the other way round. The brilliance of the modern house was in the flexible spaces that flowed one to the next, and in the simplicity and toughness of the materials. Postwar America saw a few great experiments, most famously in L.A.’s Case Study Houses in the late 1940s and ’50s. Occasionally, a visionary developer, such as Joseph Eichler in California, used good modern architects to design his subdivisions. Today they’re high-priced collectibles.


on the other hand, we have what will surely be the focus of innumberable semiotics doctoral theses at brown: prefabricated warehouse-style loft subdivisions. i think we've all come to accept that actual urban lofts are now appropriated for yuppies instead of artists, and mcmansions have indelibly constricted the relatively open proportionality of suburbs, but now entire subdivisions of fake lofts are being built mcmansion-style in the suburbs. house size lofts with garages. as the metropolis article puts it:

My talent is discovering the places where hipness goes to die. I drive around the country and stumble on phenomena that make me realize that something I once valued is about to be eaten alive by mindless commerce.


i'm reminded of the tagline of the movie the last big thing: "the culture is going down on itself".....but i guess this should all be expected.

i miss c-span

c-span has video (realmedia format) of a 'washington journal' episode with greg palast, author of 'the best democracy money can buy' on the systematic voter disenfranchisement of african americans during the 2000 presidential election. not really new news, but there were some details that i didn't know about. some interesting stuff.

c-span and c-span radio seriously kick ass.

best article ever on cnn

student drinks lab chemical on a dare

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

comics, radio

this lecture (pdf) by ira glass of 'this american life' and chris ware (who wrote the comic book 'jimmy corrigan: the smartest kid on earth') is great. it's more of a conversation/colloquium than a lecture, but seriously, if you are interested in art or media or expression in general, you should check it out.

it's 80 pages long, but a great read. there are so many parts that i wanted to blockquote in the post b/c i'm afraid that none of you are going to read it, but the post would end up being 20 pages long, so i'm going to just put up a few parts that i thought were great:

Ira Glass: Before you start them, could you just talk about that transition that happened with Potato Man? What, what happened in that transition? Chris Ware: Uh…a girl broke up with me. That was, that was—it’s the truth. There’s a sort of sense of desperation, I guess, at that point—where I felt like nothing mattered anymore, and it seemed silly to try to invest… art, especially the art that I was doing in school, with such power, in—I don’t really know how—a way to put it, it just seemed like there was just too much weight being put on art as being dangerous, or something, and I just wanted the art basically to be my friend. That sounds pathetic, but I mean—it’s true.
[...]
This is when I started to get more and more self-indulgent in art school, because I realized it didn’t matter who cared, you know, it’s just art. It’s just all gonna, you know, be buried in a hundred years anyway, who cares. So much pressure’s put on an artist to make something that seems relevant, and what’s the point? I could get hit by a truck tomorrow, what difference does it make? Actually, one of my friends was hit by a truck, in art school, so….
[...]
Ira Glass: Well then, well actually, well actually, like—somebody will talk and be making their big point and you just feel like—as a producer, you feel like, “Oh, I want to slow them down.” Because, because the point will have more emotion and will come across to the listener with the emotion that the person’s feeling more if you slow them down. And so, we’re constantly taking, like, these tiny little pieces of—of blank time and inserting it between words to change the pacing. Chris Ware: Wow. Ira Glass: Yeah.
[...]
like sometimes people will say, “Well, how come the people on public radio just seem so much more articulate than people you meet?” And it’s because, man, we have edited out everything extraneous. You know, they’re talking better than they’ve ever talked in their lives. You know? And, and uh, you know, we’re making a more perfect version of them than could ever exist in nature. And… [audience laughter] And my feeling about it is like, it’s, it’s, it’s such an artificial, um, it’s such an artificial thing to sit down and tape somebody to start with. ... Suddenly I sound like Michel Foucault.
[...]
Chris Ware: Oh, no, maybe not as sad and miserable. I don’t want to—you know, just—I’m not trying to make, you know, depress people or anything. I guess I get accused of that, sometimes. I’m really not, you know. It’s like, I don’t want, you know, it’s not—this is not a guidebook on how to live your life. [audience laughter] There’s plenty of miserable, lonely people in the world and there’s not enough art about it, I don’t think. I, you know—I get tired of reading stories about sexual liaisons and, you know, and conquests and all that kind of nonsense, it just gets tiresome. There’s plenty of that stuff, I mean. I don’t know, I guess I’m nuts or something. Ira Glass: Happy-happy people have the Friends. [some audience hissing] Chris Ware: What? Ira Glass: Happy people have the TV show Friends. [audience chuckles] Chris Ware: No, but I mean, you ride the bus, you ride the train, and you see so many people that you know they’ll never meet anybody. I mean, you can tell. And it’s, I mean it’s—
[...]
But I think, I mean it’s certainly, Charles Schultz could – could have been accused of being Charlie Brown, and that’s why he cared so much about Charlie Brown, I think. Did anybody ever see the last interview that Charles Schultz ever did? Really? It was amazing, he… it was when he announced his retirement, shortly before he died, and… I… happened to see it on a plane, my wife nudged me an- and, you know, “Put on your headphones” and I put ‘em on, and then I watched Charles Schultz talk about the ending of his comic strip and as soon as he had to mention the name of any of his characters, he burst in hysterical tears and uh, I realized, like, he, he couldn’t bear to, to imagine living without these characters, which is why he died, I think, partly. I mean, that’s kind of a romantic notion, but…he was an amazing cartoonist, I think he’s the only cartoonist to ever…ever put that sort of feeling into cartoons, and, into, into his characters. He cared more about Charlie Brown than anybody did, so.

don't worry, we'll be back to speculating over lindsay lohan's labial symmetry soon.

sometimes, i think vice goes too far...

...but even when they do, i usually don't mind. read this month's 'an ode to the fat friend', subtitled, 'the mother teresa of hooking up'.
After abandoning all hope of getting laid yourself, you have selflessly devoted your life to hooking up eligible dudes with your hot friend. You are tough but fair.

Monday, May 17, 2004

another site change

changed the blogger template a bit b/c i felt that it was too narrow. let me know if this causes problems (for example, if you have a smaller screen or some nonsense).

pics of the crew


Translation of Caption from Tamil:
DON'T FUCK WITH ME ESSE -- WHEN YOU FUCK WITH TIRUPPAMBARAM SWÂMINÂTHAN, YOU'RE FUCKING WITH THE BEST!!!

incidentally, that is me with the plaid shirt on. always gotta be different.

word of the day: rumspringa

any idea what it means? no, not a reference to our country's greatest defense secretary [sic]. it's a pennsylvania dutch (ie, amish) word that means "running wild" and describes the break that amish youth take when they turn 16 -- they are allowed to experience the 'outside' world, testing the youth's faith by unencumbering them from the rules that permeate the normal day to day lives of the amish. if they choose not to return, they are forever shunned from their communities.

growing up next to a large amish population, i remember seeing a bunch of amish kids at the go-kart track when i was younger. i thought that they had snuck off the farm, but i guess they were on their rumspringa.



the period is probably most famously portrayed in lucy walker's documentary 'devil's playground'. some choice snippets from the description and reviews:

This Sundance Festival sensation has attracted attention because of its jarring images of Amish kids immersed in debauchery: plain-dressed girls in white bonnets slugging back beers and flicking ashes from their cigarettes, boys passing out in the back of pickups after all-night parties, even Amish teens in bed together

When given their first taste of adult freedom, Amish teenagers do what any other teenagers do: they drink too much, have sex, and spend a lot of time driving around in cars. For most teenagers this is just a phase. For the Amish it's the preliminary to the most important decision of their life: whether or not to join the Amish church. The subjects of Walker's documentary are no better prepared for the trials of adolescence than any other group of sixteen year olds, and it comes as no surprise that most of them, after a few tumultuous years, seem ready to return to a way of life that represents family, security, and a rock-solid sense of identity.

npr also has a report on the film and the practice, but the thing that reminded me of rumspringa is the future upn show 'amish in the city'. sometimes, i wish i watched tv....like when the olsen twins hosted snl. i still can't believe i gave up seeing my girls for ideological reasons.

UPDATE: i just finished listening to the npr bit on the movie, and ms. walker points out that the 85-90% post-rumspringal return rate is the highest that it has ever been in the almost 400 year history of the church. perhaps this points to a degredation or an emptiness of the 'english' world. although, perhaps the amish on rumspringa still believe in the soul/afterlife, and they return to the amish church more out of a fear than out of a desire. in any case, interesting stuff.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

nigga wha?

CAN YA CAN YA CAN YA BOUNCE WIT ME BOUNCE WIT ME!!



SONIA GANDHI CAN YOU BOUNCE WIT ME BOUNCE WIT ME!!

Saturday, May 15, 2004

porn and psyops

check out this article on the use of pornography as a psyops tactic. how far we've come since the innocent days of dropping pictures of naked women on troops. the next time i shove a glo-stick up a prisoner's ass, i will remember the psyops professionals that have came before me and how they made this moment possible.

Friday, May 14, 2004

more genuflection before 17 year olds

sometimes i think that the only reason that you guys are friends with me is because i do all the things that you are not allowed/too embarassed to do, find the cream of the crop, and then report back to you.

with that in mind, i present to you this fleshbot post with about 100 lindsay lohan links, most of which call into question the incorruptibility of her tits.

if nothing else, read the nerve.com review of 'mean girls' written by a gay man who now questions his sexuality because dear miss lohan is so hot fucking hot. feel his angst and inner turmoil as he waxes poetic:
Only Ms. Lohan has found a way to sit perfectly in the enigmatic middle of the Madonna/whore spectrum. On one side we have the blatant, unthinking sluttiness of Britney, Christina and Jessica; on the other we have the near-Mormon purity of the Olsen Twins and Hillary Duff. And then there is Lindsay Lohan.
if ever there has been a doctoral thesis on 17 year old asses, then this is it.

UPDATE: GOOD GOD MAN, i almost forgot.... via ticklefight:
lindsay lohan/harry potter snl skit
vh1/vanity fair lindsay lohan photo shoot

Internet Stream of Consciousness

Anyone who has spent a few hours on the internet knows the joys and pains of randomly following links. Here's a transcript of one of my more recent sessions. It begins at [The Onion]. Girls at sci-fi conventions getting attention. Hehe:

"The attention led Osley to flirt with Farscape actor Paul Goddard during an autograph signing. After handing Goddard a poster to sign, Osley said he could sign anywhere he wanted. Laughing coyly, she added, 'And I mean anywhere.'"

In any case, I then needed to know who Paul Goddard was after I found out that he was in The Matrix (Agent Brown). So I went, where else, to [IMDB] and searched for Paul Goddard. I was hooked when I found out that Paul Goddard had been in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The [online review] of this movie has to be one of the funniest ever. Some snippets:

"It starts off with a ropy, would-be Star Wars scrolling narration voiced by an uncredited female. This mystery lady sounds alternately drunk, not comprehending what she's saying, and like she's got a large cactus stuffed up her rectum."

The review made me wonder what ever happened to those good ol' TV shows we watched as kids. For example : [Transformers]. Leonard Nimoy, Judd Nelson and Orson Welles were voices for this movie and Weird Al helped write the soundtrack...

Yes, pathetic. I know...

Thursday, May 13, 2004

grey goose and a whole lotta hydro

listen up shit stains, because today is the second biggest day of your miserable lives. why you ask? because the objective is in sight -- can you feel it? can you smell the excitement?

MARY KATE AND ASHLEY OLSEN TURN EIGHTEEN IN THIRTY DAYS.

since you fucks can't wipe your asses by yourselves, i will tell you what needs to be done from here on out:
  1. if you haven't already, set the olsen meter as your start page. this should go without saying, but you never know.
  2. read this ny post gossip about my new girlfriends. concentrate on the section that reads
    [they] drink vodka-and-juice cocktails at parties and "don't mind being around kids who smoke pot."
  3. obtain copious amounts of vodka, juice, and pot.

THIRTY DAYS GENTLEMEN.
THAT IS ALL.

oh wait, no it's not.....



$20 goes to the first person who can correctly differentiate the two.

That "environment" thing again.

What to make of statistics. Scientists claim that the earth got "darker" in the last half of the 20th century.

"Defying expectation and easy explanation, hundreds of instruments around the world recorded a drop in sunshine reaching the surface of Earth, as much as 10 percent from the late 1950's to the early 90's, or 2 percent to 3 percent a decade."

from [NYTimes].

And we've got another disaster movie coming, but this time it regards global warming [The Day After Tomorrow], and its inflaming people [NYTimes]. Apparently, [MoveOn] believes that the "right" doesn't want us to see this [movie].

What to make of all this?

Grade Inflation Revisited

What's in a grade? A grade is supposed to be a measure of how much one actually "understands" the material taught in a class. Right? Well then, the "best" grading policy is the one that conveys the most information about the largest number of people in a given class. Loosely anyway. Here's an information theoretic assessment of grades at Princeton: [Information Theory]. The actual faculty proposals: [Grade proposals].

I wonder about the efficacy of combating grade inflation at the level of policy. Perhaps what's really required is some kind of instruction for professors/TAs in how to grade.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

cover of pharrell's frontin'

grab the cover of pharrell and jay-z's frontin' by jamie cullum on this cover blog post.

if it's gone, let me know and i will write the file's sequence of ones-and-zeros on a piece of paper and send a carrier pigeon to fascinate your ass.

grade inflation at princeton, written by a penn state prof.

nyt magazine article on grade inflation

let me know if the link doesn't work b/c it got archived...

hello pot? this is kettle. you black nigga!

as our schizoid, paranoid, narcisstic and avoidant young torless spews his white-power fueled vitriol against neurodiversity in his 'mental disabilities revisited' post, i was reminded of the xanadu project, described most famously in this long but greatly enjoyable early wired article which i encourage you all to read when you get a chance. (how i miss the days before wired was killed by condé nast.)

the amazing xanadu system (which is like the web on steroids) was designed by ted nelson, a man with ADD. the system seems to have been created as a function of nelson's needs as a person with ADD, and i believe that such a system would not have been thought of if it weren't for the existence of such unique needs.

and as for autism, there was that guy, raymond babbitt, who beat the house in vegas and taught his younger brother, tom cruise, what it meant to be part of a family. that was great...

a bunch of health care shit

i've been sitting on these for awhile, but i thought i'd dump them now that i have a few minutes:
  1. this eweek article talks about the use of telemedicine for at home care of the elderly in a dutch province. the use of telemedicine will be examined in this 3 year pilot program because of the predicted growth of the elderly population.
    the portion of the Dutch population aged 65 years or older will nearly double from 13 percent today to 25 percent by 2020. As a result, collective health care costs are expected to double, too.
    the use of telemedicine is not new, but i found it interesting that countries that have progressive and humanistic health care policies are also being forced to cut costs. the article gives another example of this trend:
    Among services and medications recently scrapped from the standard health care package are the birth control pill and subsidies for home-care patients...
    in case you're wondering, they providers of this service hope to eventually offer it for under US$24/month.

  2. the medical informatics weblog picked up on another eweek article -- this time on wellpoint's eprescription effort. incase you don't know, wellpoint will be the nation's largest healthcare provider after it merges with anthem later this year.
    At no cost to physicians, WellPoint's initiative will offer participating doctors a wireless, handheld electronic prescribing unit, a wireless access point and a one-year subscription to an e-prescribing service, all of which will allow physicians to electronically generate prescriptions. . . Physicians will be able to write prescriptions that can be electronically transmitted to the pharmacy of their choice. Almost 19,000 contracting WellPoint network physicians in California, Georgia, Missouri and Wisconsin have been invited to participate in this program.
    hopefully this system will work out well and diminish the already abhorent death rate due to medical error (according to the agency for healthcare research and quality, approximately 7,000 americans die every year due to medication errors alone).

  3. another post from the medical informatics blog mentions the new 'national health information technology coordinator' position at the department of health and human services, which has been filled by david brailer. the press release from the dhhs goes on to talk about some recent steps taken to further the cause of emr, such as releasing the snomed ontology/taxonomy, standardizing on an some hl7 interoperability protocols, and accepting various other standards that will help to further the cause of portability and uniformity over national medical records.

tina fey's ass

download this week's weekend update (the snoop dogg one) from fallonfey.com so you can conduct controlled gene therapy trials as tina fey does this:



update: btw, the link will go down in about a week, so if you want the file, let me know.

inner monologue of a suicide bomber

what the fuck?! i can't believe mamoodh is wearing his black ski mask! he TOTALLY knows that black ski masks are my trademark! this is BULLSHIT! now everyone is going to think that i'm copying off of mamoodh, but i've been rocking the black ski mask since, like, the first intifadah....and why the FUCK does that clown get to carry the stinger missle anyway! as allah as my witness (pbuh), if he ever tries to pull a stunt like this again, i will detonate his ass.

gone too far

via gabba:

i'm down with hip hop reaching out of the bitches, guns, and jewelry ghetto that it currently occupies, but this guy mocky put out a track (available on gabba) that is so ludicris that only dj i have no friends or young torless could possibly bop their heads to it. the hook is something like this:

read your faust motherfuckers,
i make you bounce motherfucers,
marcel proust motherfuckers.

that's right: marcel proust.......motherfuckers. reminds me of a book i never read on the collision of high brow and low brow culture entitled nobrow: the culture of marketing, the marketing of culture, which seemed interesting for the 20 seconds i pretended to read it at barnes & noble's while actually staring at some girl's cleavage.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Mental Disabilities Revisited

It seems there's a new "movement" (if it's even big enough to call it that) of people who want "tolerance" for neurobiological diversity. In other words, people want to be "accepted" for having ADD or aspereger's syndrome. Yeah. Only people from Berkeley say shit like this.[Mental Disorders]. Even better, the autistic adults picture project. [Pictures of autists]. Why aren't there any attractive autists, then we might care.

Questioning our Sources

Every once in a while it's good to remind ourselves that behind our news sources lie large families with political agendas. Ok, so I'm kidding, but only partly. After the Jayson Blair scandal at the nytimes and the recent movie about Stephen Glass at the new republic, one can only wonder. I ran into the following book on the NYTimes: [NYTimes Family]. The times has been owned by the same family for its entire run. Wow.

introducing rush limbaugh to the tossed salad man

dongresin has a nice snip about rush limbaugh's recent comments on the iraq prison situation:

First of all, it's been revealed that the sort of abuses that go on in every prison in existence also somehow goes on in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Now, not one motherfucker in Iraq has ever doubted this for a second, but thanks to some photos, we all have yet more proof of what a slimy douchebag Rush Limbaugh is.
You'd think for someone so close to going to prison himself, he'd have a less caviler attitude about sexual humiliation and sodomy.
Here's my pledge to you, reader of The Joint : if it turns out that Rush Limbaugh goes to prison, I will get myself incarcerated in that same prison just so you can be certain someone sodomizes him with plunger handle. Then, he can say firsthand and with some real knowledge how that's not really torture.
I may also teabag him if I'm feeling jaunty that day.
Hard to say. Prison is upsetting.

you had me at 'war of aggression'

rumsfeld: dick, do you still....love me?
cheney: of course i do rummy. you know i'll always love you. now come here and kiss me you damn fool.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

daisy, it's the new me

blogger has upgraded some stuff me droogs.

#1 among the big updates: the integrated comments. all new posts will use the blogger.com commenting system, while old posts are still being served from the gracious people at haloscan.com. what does all this mean to you? absolutely nothing, because none of you fucks leave comments.

also, to my faithfull blog team members, you can now add crap to your 'profile', so if you are sick of the lies i spread about you under the 'about' link, add whatever text/images you want to your profile. like naked pictures of you and your friends making a human pyramid, or of a woman walking you around on a leash while having cold water dumped on you. use your imaginations -- it's a free country after all.

Friday, May 07, 2004

modern day brown shirts

this company sells right wing t-shirts, some of which i would buy if i wasn't such a liberal commie pinko fag. here's what you can expect:

the shirt providing 'fun facts about terrorists' says (among other things), "if surrounded by terrorists, whatever you do, don't make any sudden movements or be a jew."

the one on france: "during the cola wars, france was occupied by pepsi for six months".

and, most impressively, a ché guevara-styled ronald regan tshirt that says, "viva la reagan revolution"

colin powell: bad mother fucker

this gq article profiles colin powell's struggle to retain some semblance of reasonability in the current administration.

if there has ever been someone worthy of being president in my time, powell be thy name.

congressional response to disney's censorship

deomcratic senator frank lautenberg of new jersery has called for censorship hearings in response to news of disney's refusal to distribute micheal moore's farenheit 911 & other recent political censorship incidents. the hearings, if performed, will be through the commerce committe (chaired by the world's most famous gook hater but otherwise all right guy, sen. john mccain).

Stem Cells

The Reagan's supporting stem cell research? Well one of them anyway. [Stem Cells]. This does put the Republicans in an interesting position.

More on Lynndie England

The nytimes seems to have a different picture of Lynndie Rana England [NYTimes]. Her best friend is named Destiny Goin. The names are like something out of Vonnegut or Pynchon. I personally like the picture with the leash best. Terrible...

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Easy as pie, 3.14 – One more, one false move and their done for

Sorry I’m not writing about telegraph or torturing people or you know important stuff, but the only thing my life consists of is music, as I, as the name states, have no friends. Anyway, I’m here to tell you about one of the most anticipated albums this year from the basement of West Coast rap. I don’t know how much you know about the underground and I’m going to continue to assume that you all are ignorant fucks, so I guess the first thing is first.

MADLIB – DJ like none other. Samples things that I would have never imagined to sample before (ie: street fighter II and 80’s b movies). His manner of producing/beat making/making love with my ear is beyond what I can really say in words. I can just explain the way that it exists in space. Like constellations, one looks upon this galaxy of sound to see how Madlib’s seemingly random notes to make a gorgeous image. Normally we are the people bringing the stars into a picture, but this time, Madlib is the one showing up the beauty in his sound. The sound is his galaxy and he brings all of it together so that when you listen to the deepest part of the sound you begin to believe the design argument of sound. Not god…just sound.

QUASIMOTO – The alter ego of Madlib. Though I haven’t been in this game for long, this, in my opinion, is one of the most interesting DJ going MC I’ve seen. Unlike most rapper, Quasi keeps his DJ abilities the focus as he takes his spoken word and ends up making it go through his equipment. When you hear Quasi for the first time you are going to think one thing and one thing alone: Steve Urkel on helium. This is because Madlib is too much of a DJ to use his voice at a regular speed and instead speeds it up to around 2x.

MF DOOM – The biggest up and coming backpacking MC in the last couple of years. Any of you who listened to the abstract hip hop movement often told by Kool Keith’s alter ego DR. OCTAGON – then you will be somewhat familiar with this breed of rapping. Though Doc Oct was a bit out there when trying to rap about a time in the future that was decidedly overrun by perversion, MF Doom keeps it much more down to earth. His call as Madvillain should be the Geek signal in the sky. I mean seriously, who makes an album based on a failed comic book idea. (For those of you who know not what I mean, check out this pitchfork review of the album).

The merger of these two brings nothing more than pure happiness to my heart. Very few things entertain me more than following Mandy Moore for “ideas,” but sitting down and listening to the samples that seem to me shouldn’t exist or be coherent overlain with the rougher drum/bass line like voice of MF Doom just, for some reason, allows me to stop what I’m doing and just slip away in a world that feels like cell animated beats. Enough of this though…here WERE the mp3’s, they are gone now. Email me if you want some shizzzzzzit. Enjoy and remember – I hate you.

king abdullah II of jordan turns into a super hero

is it just me, or does it look like king abdullah II of jordan is trying to make energy rays shoot out of his eyes straight at bush's cranium? either that or he caught whiff of a presidential fart.

ann coulter: watch your back

that's right! right wing america has a new sex symbol, and her name is lynndie england. boingboing points to some info on the prison torturette and future national review playmate in this daily telegraph article. i have no idea if the paper is reputable, but here are some gems:

She faces a court martial, but at home she is toasted as a hero. At the dingy Corner Club Saloon they think she has done nothing wrong.

"A lot of people here think they ought to just blow up the whole of Iraq," Colleen Kesner said.

"We went there to help the jackasses and they started blowing us up. Lynndie didn't kill 'em, she didn't cut 'em up. She should have shot some of the suckers."


also, why aren't people making a big deal about the dude in the photos? he's wearing light blue latex gloves in a room full of bent over naked men for god's sake! i don't even want to know.

i think it's kinda fitting that this stuff comes out while the right wing america is bashing kerry for saying that atrocities occurred during vietnam. i'm kinda pissed at kerry for backing away from that statement. of course atrocities occurred during vietnam....i think the american public needs to be educated as to what exactly happens during war.

Prison Abuse

Why did guards in Iraq treat iraqi prisoners the way they did? It was unjustifiable under any circumstances. Any the US admits it happens with Bush publicly apologizing several times: [NYTimes] including once on arabic television. But one might ask why such things happen.

A 1971 Standford study regarding the psychology of prisons claims an answer: [NYTimes] or for the actual study see [Stanford Prison Study]. In such situations where unequal power dynamics are present, it seems people seem to become naturally violent. Similar themes were touched on in Philip Gourevitch's book [ We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda]. In the end it seems that ordinary people are capable of horrible things and blurs the distinction between "normal" and "monster." But what really is "normal" anyway. It seems it can only be defined by what it's not...

intentional blindness

via boingboing:

this telegraph article discusses research on intentional blindness: a phenomenon characterized by not sensing something that is obviously there. interesting stuff. i read another article a while ago on the opposite phenomenon, where missing parts of scenes were inferred, such as people 'seeing' a normal picture of an airplane landing when in fact the picture had a part of the fuselage cropped out.

if you want to check your own puny brains out, follow the link at the bottom of the article to the collection of videos used for testing this phenomenon. have a friend read the purpose for each video and then have them show you the video -- providing you with any prompting if necessary.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

crossing the rubicon

or as it now known, crossing the TacoBellSeagramsWalMart river:

For the first half of May, the small, rural community of Richland will be called "Mojito" . . . The Buena Vista Township Committee voted 5-0 on April 26 to authorize the new name after the rum maker Bacardi offered to give the township $5,000 for recreation projects such as new playground equipment in public parks.

so....for $120k per year, i can fucking rename a town. a fucking town.

it costs more to get naming rights for a minor league ball park.

science.

Science and Tech in the US

A committee advising congress on science and engineering education in the US warned that too few americans are interested in science and engineering. [NYTimes Article].

As we may have already known. The NSF Science and Engineering indicators (available from [Indicators Home]) indicates that most students "perform below levels considered proficient or advanced.." and "Furthermore, sometimes substantial achievement gaps persist between various U.S. student subpopulations, and U.S. students continue to do poorly in international comparisons, particularly in higher grades."

The companion article discusses "higher level performance:" [An Emerging and Critical Problem of the Science and Engineering Labor Force].

Call to Prayer

Is it any worse for a mosque to issue, via loudspeaker, the call to prayer 5 times daily than it is for a church to play its bells? Muslims near Detroit recently had a petition approved for exactly this: [Detroit Mosque]. On the other hand, it always amuses me when people talk about their "constitutional rights." I doubt most people have read the constitution:

"My main objection is simple," she said. "I don't want to be told that Allah is the true and only God five times a day, 365 days a year. It's against my constitutional rights to have to listen to another religion evangelize in my ear."

and

"Everyone talks about their rights," Mr. Schultz said. "The rights of Christians have been stripped from them. Last week there were Muslims praying downstairs, in a public building. If Christians tried to do that, the A.C.L.U. would shut us down."

Well?

gmail

google was gracious enough to invite active blogger users to beta test their new email service, gmail. you've probably heard about it's content based ads or its 1gb of storage. (fratocrates team, you should be able to get yours by going to blogger's home page and signing in. the invite should appear above the sign-in box on the right side of the screen.)

it's a pretty cool product. they've definitely upped the ante for web-mail UIs, and it might even surpass the UI of traditional thick clients -- although i am sure there will be mozilla/thunderbird extensions mimicking the nicer features.

to be honest though, i don't have enough email in my gmail account to really give it a good workout. i have so many god damn email accounts at this point that it's pissing me off and i don't really feel like having to check another one for email. perhaps i'll subscribe to a few mailing lists which might be a reasonable simulacrum of having a normally populated inbox. (on a side note, aol has opened up their email with imap, which ROCKS. i hope hotmail and gmail follow suit.)

anyway, current beta testers get to invite two people to join gmail, and people are buying/selling these invites on ebay. last i checked, one was going for $60. pretty insane.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Michael Moore

As much as I hate Michael Moore and his hijack, reductionist journalism, I do respect his rights to distribute his movies and I certainly respect his right to seethe. However, our good friends at Disney don't seem to believe in the same. They want to censor [Michael Moore's New Movie]. I can't wait to see how he reacts to this one. The film is called Fahrenheit 911, does the wonderfully obvious job of linking Bush and the Saudi kings (I guess the general public should know about this), and is not being released more or less because it "harshly criticizes" Bush. Amusingly, Mel Gibson's studio Icon Pictures backed out of producing this movie...

Oh well...

how about we just bring back the inquisition?

wow:

Interior Minister José Antonio Alonso wants the law to control what can be said to congregations in Spain's mosques and churches.

interestingly, the imam of the largest mosque in spain is cool with it, but the nation's roman catholics are balking.

HUY! HUY! HUY! HUY!

the MADDNESS begins as the world's largest democracy opens its voting booths.

just throw your hands in the air! and wave 'em like you just don't care! now everybody SCREAM! IT'S THE JUMP-OFF YAAARRRR!!!!

this week in masturbation

the good news:

saw 'mean girls'. it sucked. not really that funny, character development was . . . pardon me, what is that friend? what do you say? OH OH OH! the girls! but yes of course! how shall i put this...

SO HOT. SO SO FUCKING HOT.

the movie's main thematic element was an ode to 17 year old breats. so nubile.

also discernable was an undercurrent paying homage to 17 year old buttocks. so supple.

the bad-good news:

the current hiv outbreak in porn valley has reached an industry fav: jessica dee -- the czech super-slut who looks like britney spear's slutty (err.....sluttier) big sister. so sad.

as bad as that is, it looks like she's landing on her feet. as the fleshbot article points out, platinum x has offered her a directing gig. her first line will be entitled. . . Throat Yogurt. GENIUS. SO NECESSARY.

the not really news:

the washington post (btw washington post, i am SICK of fucking putting in my demographic information every time i visit your fucking page! SHAME!) reports that red light district has secured the rights to the paris hilton sex video and will be releasing it under the title 'a night in paris'. hilarious. on a side note, i'm glad that nothing important is happening in washington that would force the post to concentrate their resources on something else. kudos gentlemen.

art for people that religiously watch e!

makeoutcity posts on the new play 'matt and ben,' which is about matt and ben affleck. kinda slick. affleck has a pretty funny quote at the bottom of the post...

an example of the things torless jacks off to

elizabeth wurtzel's yale law school application essay.

i downloaded the movie adaptation of her book 'prozac nation' a while ago. it was made a few years ago, but i don't think it got released in theaters. there's a reason why: it sucks. but you get to see christian ricci's tits. so if you're into that kind of stuff: let me know, and i will notify the appropriate authorities.

dollar stores

via makeoutcity, some facts on dollar stores:

1. More than 4000 new dollar stores have opened in the last three years, an increase of thirty-four percent.

2. The dollar store sector accounts for $16 billion a year, larger than the recorded music industry.

6. Families earning $70,000 and above are the fastest-growing group of customers for dollar stores. Dollar stores are beginning to lose their dowdy image.

8. Wal-Mart, feeling the competitive heat, is experimenting with "dollar store" sub-sections in some of their superstores.

oh happy day

hitachi has just come out with a fucking 400 gigabyte hard drive for $400. porn addicts of the world REJOICE!

more search related fucking genius

this dude searched for a bunch of terms on the white house's website last year and wrote down the number of hits each search term got. then he waited a year, and repeated the experiment to see how word usage on the site changed.

for example:

"Domestic" dropped by 83%, but "foriegn" rose by 56%

It wasn't a good year for "truth": down 83%

However, it was a great year for "lie", up 67%

And it was an awesome year for "fear", up 121%


great stuff.

Monday, May 03, 2004

dog brothel

dog brothel. no more needs to be said.

religious harassment

this cnn article discusses the rise in the harassment of muslims in america.

among other things, the article gives the following figures:

California saw the largest number of complaints, at 221, followed by New York at 191, Virginia at 69 and Texas at 57.

militarizing npr

this workshop (captured by c-span) on progressive talk-radio and using the internet to reclaim democracy was pretty interesting (link is to a RealMedia streaming video file, which c-span does not keep up indefinitely).

the first two guys are alright (tom athans of democracy radio and mark walsh, air america radio ceo), but the real interesting stuff starts at 55 minutes, when former dean campaign internet consultant and author of the cluetrain manifesto and small pieces loosely joined (i've read neither), david weinberger, starts lobbing grenades at the audience.

he drops this classic from times of yore to open his talk:

I'm an academic by training, so meeting people who are actually doing something in the world is always a treat for me.

torless, i'm sure you can empathize, especially after that zero/GEB "party" you went to.

he ends his speech by screaming the following at the normally staid c-span audience -- all of whom are by now ready to eat their own children if weinberger asks them to:

take your country back from the [political] campaigns! take your country back from the [political] marketers! they're turning you into a consumer: they're thinking of democracy as a transaction that's completed in the booth, and that's not it! that's not why we care.

so take some time off from masturbating to america's favorite cunt and check it out.

google nerds

apparently, google is shooting at raising e*10^9 dollars in it's IPO. fucking geeks.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Meanderings into metamathematical madness

Every once in a while I find myself in a situation where I curse literary intellectualism. At those moments I remember that catchword that people use to describe all the pompous and senseless ramblings of literary intellectuals, namely "postmodernism." I found myself at a party and somehow ended up talking to a bunch of philosphers. They became much more interested in me when the found out that I'm a mathematician. Once of them then asked me "What is zero? Zero is not a number." I paused, looked at him and responded: "What?" He then said, again very quickly, "zero is that thing that isn't equal to itself, so how can it be a number?" Now, I don't mind sensible discussions of the philosophy or history of mathematics, but it bugs me when people, especially pompous philsophers, rattle of insensible statements that are nothing more than definitional issues. In the end, it turned out that [Heidegger] had made some statement about "nothingness" and my erstwhile conversation partner had somehow arbitrarily substituted "zero" for "nothingness" and was trying to get, I believe anyway, some kind of mathematical statement about Heidegger. I reiterate, how do I find myself in these situations.

Another gem of this conversation regards yet another participant: she was a child of two academics whose "mother's milk" was perhaps Kant. When I said I had enjoyed Douglas Hofstadter's book [Gödel, Escher, Bach], I was greeted by the response: "I liked that book when I was fifteen." Yet another participant claimed that the book was "content free." I asked both to clarify their opinions. Our academic child responded, "it's just so triumphalist." The other responded: "it's just prattle for nerds." I was asked about what content was in the book. My response was: "besides a statement of [Gödel's thoeorem]?" Whatever the case it was a stunning display of pomposity...

In order to enact retribution, I'm going to list some of my favorite "postmodernism is nonsense" books. Actually, in the hope of academic honesty, there's only one that I've read and I'll list that one. Indeed, what a stifled and pathetic existence I live.

[Fashionable Nonsense] - by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont. And a very intelligent response by (mathematician) Michael Harris entitled: [I Know What you Mean!.pdf].

wow, some lazy mother fuckers are actually starting to pull their weight around here.

torless, dj i have no friends, kudos on actually posting. i feel like a proud parent seeing his able-bodied 36 year old son finally getting a job and moving out of the god damn basement. i, of course, wasn't blogging because jesus don't blog on sabbath.

the pbs frontline documentary on how george w. bush worships me while disobeying the intent of all my preachings can seen online here (although, as of 9pm may 2nd, the machines serving up the streams are maxed out. in the name of jesus). a bunch of other interesting frontline documentaries are of course available on the frontline website.